South Florida soldier surprises children at schools after being deployed for 14 months

Sgt. Leonard Whyte plans to take his family to theme park before they move

By Sanela Sabovic - Reporter

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Sgt. Leonard Whyte has been deployed for more than a year and, on Wednesday, he decided to surprise his children at their schools in Fort Lauderdale. 

"I waited for this moment for a while," Whyte said.  

Whyte hasn't seen his wife and kids in 14 months, after being deployed to South Korea, and on Wednesday, he finally got the moment he'd been waiting for.

There wasn't a dry eye at his son’s preschool, Chesterbrook Academy, where little Leonard was clearly excited.

"Well, I feel so sad about him, and then he left and I love him," Leonard Whyte III said.   

Earlier in the morning, Whyte surprised his oldest daughter, Destinee, at her high school.

Whyte's wife, Kadian, also had no idea her husband was back in town. She was expecting him next week, but he managed to pull off the ultimate surprise.

"I'm beyond excited," she said. "He's been gone for so long. We've never been away for this long. I'm happy -- beyond happy."

The family said it's been tough for the kids with their dad away.

"Now (that) he's back, everything is good now," Destinee Whyte said.  

And he's back home in time for Easter, already helping little Leonard collect his Easter eggs.

"It was hard saying goodbye, but the coming home was the end of the tunnel for me," Whyte said.  

Whyte said he plans to take his children to either Disney World or Busch Gardens before the family makes the big move to Colorado next month.

 
 

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